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Uveitis Diet, Nutrition

Uveitis is characterized by inflammation of the middle layer of the eye. This area is known as uvea and lies between the sclera, which is the white portion of the eye and the retina. The iris is part of the uvea and the most commonly occurring form of uvea involves inflammation in the iris. This is known as anterior uveitis or iritis. The uvea contains several blood vessels which provide nourishment to the eyes.
When the uvea become inflamed, there may be vision loss. In order to prevent permanent damage to vision, it is necessary to seek early treatment for uveitis.

Uveitis can affect either one eye or both eyes. The most common signs and symptoms of uveitis include tearing and pain in the affected eye, red eye, blurring and diminished vision. Some individuals also experience increased sensitivity to light and dark spots in their vision. The exact cause of uveitis is not known. Uveitis can be either acute or chronic in nature and is known to occur equally in men and women. The condition may emerge in individuals of any age; however it is more commonly seen in individuals in their twenties. Some of the causes of uveitis include exposure to chemicals which can cause damage to the eye. Infections and certain types of cancers can also lead to the development of uveitis. In many cases, uveitis is also linked to autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, crohn’s disease and Reiter syndrome. Some individuals also experience symptoms of uveitis due to food allergies.

The uveitis diet must follow certain nutritional guidelines. It is important to consume plenty of green leafy vegetables as they are rich in antioxidants. Fruits such as blueberries and cherries are also beneficial in improving symptoms of uveitis. Foods such as sugar and white flour can be harmful for overall health and should be avoided. The consumption of red meats should also be restricted and more lean meats, tofu and beans should be included in the diet. Cooking oils can supply the body with considerable amounts of unhealthy fats and hence it is essential to use only healthy cooking oils such as olive oil. Uveitis nutrition can also be improved by taking multivitamins on a daily basis. These supplements provide the body with vital vitamins such as vitamin A, B, C and E. Trace minerals such as selenium, calcium, magnesium and zinc are also supplied to the body. These nutrients are beneficial for good health of the eyes. Some studies have also indicates that the vitamins C and E may help in alleviating symptoms of anterior uveitis. Uveitis food also includes those which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon and nuts. One can also take fish oil capsules as they help to reduce inflammation and also strengthen the immune system. Lutein is also known to be a beneficial antioxidant for health of the eyes. It is, however, advisable to consult a doctor before taking any supplements.
Herbs may also be used to treat conditions such as uveitis as they help to boost the body’s functioning and reduce symptoms of inflammation and infection. Before using any type of herbal treatments, it is advisable to consult a doctor. Herbs may be used in various forms such as dried extracts or tinctures. Dried extracts include teas which can be made by adding a teaspoon of the dried herbs to a cup of hot water. The herbal extracts should be allowed to steep in the water for about ten minutes before consuming. Turmeric is known to be beneficial in alleviating chronic uveitis because of its antioxidant properties.

Submitted on July 1, 2011